This weekend will mark 18 years since the passing of bassist/frontwoman Bianca Halstead – known “professionally” as Bianca Butthole.
This isn’t a news report.
This is me personally celebrating an icon.
A monster musician.
The long and the short of what happened – after a gig in New Orleans on December 15, 2001, the car my buddy Bianca was riding in crashed and she was killed at the age of 36. Devastating. Heartbreaking.
If you don’t know Bianca, or the music of her bands Betty Blowtorch, or Butt Trumpet, my words about them won’t suffice. Go ahead and Google. I can't post that stuff here. Cuss words.
What I will tell you is how the world of Rock music lost a legend to be, an icon in the making.
I can describe what she meant to me, though. And, how.
I remember being pretty shocked and bummed out when I heard the news. As the years have passed the void has never been filled, and at this point, it likely never will be. And how could it be?
That's the thing about visionaries - they're unique. She was something special, we all knew that then.
Time has shown she was *too* special - nobody has really stepped up to even come close to matching her intensity. Or, her sincerity.
The music she wrote and the lyrics she sang were direct from Hell, and genuine as hell.
Judging by her presence and performance I assumed she'd punch me in the face or set my car on fire if I talked to her. I couldn't have been more wrong. Bianca was so sweet and SO MUCH FUN just to be around. I'm sad there weren't more of those times.
Genuine as hell.
Sure, she gave me grief for wearing a New Kids on the Block shirt (that was my attempt at an ironic ‘thing’ back in my glam rock days) so she called me ‘Donnie’, later ‘dork’, eventually ‘Dorky Donnie’. Hey, I earned it! We talked for quite a while that first night. We both had our Fender basses that night. Her's was her one special bass - The Pink Monster. My Fender was my first bass, which I eventually named "Public Enemy Number One". She noodled around with mine and I got to noodle with hers.
That sounds filthy.
I couldn't tell if I would have liked to be her bass tech, or her bandmate, or her boyfriend, or her brother, or whatever. All of those, and none of them at once.
I just know I truly enjoyed hearing her play and enjoyed being around her.
And she rocked...So. Freaking. Hard.
If you feel like rocking hard this weekend, crank a Betty Blowtorch song or two - loud.
Bianca would have had it that way. That's why she was here, clearly.
Born to Love, Lived to Rock
1965 - 2001
I miss you so much, BB.
(PS - you made recovery look so cool, I eventually decided to try it myself. Thank you.)